For starters, you probably already have a full-time job and therefore don’t have time to spend hours in the saddle. Instead you can look ahead to the summer cycling season and train smarter instead of harder by following a cycling training plan that’s tailored to your goals.

Here’s a hint: winter miles equal summer smiles.

Taking yourself seriously as a bike rider doesn’t mean you have to start training like a pro, especially if you don’t have time to spend hours in the saddle. Instead you can look ahead to the summer cycling season and train smarter instead of harder by following a cycling training plan that’s tailored to your goals and aspirations. If you’re just starting out or if you want to take your cycling performance to the next level, a coach will help keep you motivated, committed, and honest. There seem to be limitless online resources and training tools available to help you improve either on your own or with the help of a coach. The best cycling training plan is the one that keeps you on track toward achieving your goals. Your cycling training plan should be challenging but fun, it should be unique to you, and it should fit your schedule. Knowing how to plan your summer season will pay dividends in the future for the time you invest in the present, so start enjoying the summer cycling season now, here’s how:

1. Chart your goals

Commit to yourself by setting a cycling goal or even several to get you motivated and looking forward to summer. A cycling goal can be an event, like a sportive or a charity ride, or a cycling trip with minimum daily mileage requirements, or it can be a series of self-defined ascending mileage goals. Races make ideal goals, especially if you commit to a race series where your results track your progress over the course of the season.

TIP: Ask a friend to participate in your goals. That way you’ll hold each other accountable and you won’t have to train on your own.

2. Choose a training plan

Your goals and aspirations will help define what type of training plan will suit you best. For instance, if you’re in reasonably good shape and you’ve signed up for a 100 km sportive that’s in six weeks, your training plan might be a mix of cross-training with increasing time on the bike each week. Or maybe you’ve decided to give cycling a try, in which case a cycling for beginners training plan will gently ease you into cycling.

TIP: The Insight Zone on British Cycling’s website is loaded with free cycling training plans, including British Cycling training plans for all types of cycling.

3. Recruit all the useful tools to execute your plan

Same as in life, cycling takes all types, and there are training plans for all types of cyclists. Some need nothing more than a straightforward spreadsheet that outlines what to do and when. Others may crave data and possess all the technology to get it. Wherever you land on this vast spectrum of cyclists, make sure you have whatever tools it takes to execute your plan.

TIP: Numerous free and subscription-based cycle training apps can transform training into a game so if you are motivationally-challenged, you might try applying a little technology to your training plan to make it more fun.

4. Organise time to train

Now that you have a plan, all that’s left is to do it, which means organising your weekly schedule to make space to train. This will be easy if you already spend time on yourself each week, perhaps going to the gym or doing yoga at home. If that’s you, all that’s needed may just be a few tweaks in order to train. If however, training is a new project, you may need to rearrange your priorities to boost training up somewhere near the top.

TIP: You’ll know soon enough if your training plan is working by how well you stick to it.

5. Make adjustments as needed

If your training is going according to plan and you’re hitting your goals, then do us a service and share the secret of your success. Even the best-laid plans tend to go off the rails. If you’re having trouble with managing your time, doing the work, or staying committed, review your plan and make changes to get back on track. You could even schedule in occasional performance tests that will show you what’s working (or not) and make adjustments accordingly.

TIP: If you’re really struggling to maintain a training plan, hire a coach to design and manage your plan, and monitor your progress.

How to plan your summer season seems easy enough; the secret is in the planning. One size doesn’t fit all with respect to planning for the summer season so it’s important to craft a training plan (either on your own or with the help of a coach) that’s tailored exclusively to you. Tell yourself that “winter miles equal summer smiles” or “summer races are won in the winter” to get you started on your summer season right now!